Monday, July 20, 2009

Script Review – “The Beaver”


* MINOR SPOILERS *

Mel Gibson, at this very moment, may be standing in front of a mirror with a puppet in his hand desperately trying to make the concept of The Beaver work. Mel Gibson. Mad Max. In front of a mirror. With a puppet. Trying to make it work. Now that, my friends, is the first and perhaps only humorous thought to be had in relation to The Beaver. Gibson has, as you have probably heard,
signed on to star in this film with Jodie Foster directing (who will also play his wife).

I thought now might be the time for a script review, MM style.

What-oh-what is one to think about Kyle Killen’s Beaver?

The script, which rose above all others on
The Black List, is available here. Parallels between Walter Black, the main character, and Mel Gibson, the flawed human being, can be found here.

New York Magazine
called it “one of the more elegantly fucked-up stories we've read in a long, long time.” Billy Mernit commented, “As a story analyst who's been reading for the studios (and indies) for 17 years, I'll just cite one reason the script clicked with readers: energy.” Our good friend, Scotty Myers, praised the script for its killer opening: “Just over 1 page -- and I guarantee you that any professional script reader would not only be engaged by the script, but also know this crucial fact: ‘I am in the hands of a quality writer.’” He also praised the script for its transitions - “…Killen effectively employs different narrative devices to stitch together scenes in a seamless fashion.”

ScriptShadow, who also offers a fairly comprehensive overview of the story,
wrote: “It's not the best script I read on The Black List, but it's definitely the most memorable. And I think there's a lesson here. 9 out of 10 writers would've explored this concept as a broad comedy. The fact that we're essentially watching a drama about a guy who talks through a British beaver puppet distinguishes this script from every other script out there.”

And then there were
Bill Martel’s thoughtful comments: “…here’s the thing - a movie and a screenplay can be saved by their ending... and as a story continues, we tend to become invested in the characters... so by the time I reached the end of THE BEAVER I wasn’t thinking about all of the problems as much as I was thinking about all of the things it did well... and that end (which oddly uses the narration I disliked from the beginning) had me liking the script despite its flaws. The narration in the opening is a set up for the narration at the ending... so it ended up being kinda cool. And the characters grew on me. A great heartwarming end made all of the problems seem to disappear. I can see why it got a bunch of votes - but still can’t see how it will work on screen without some heavy rewrites.”


All well and good.

I'd like to do something different and start with the ending (only minor spoilers). Did anyone notice how the (what some called “satisfactory”) ending was not the resolution of the main plot but, in fact, the subplot of Porter and Norah? And all the while we are watching the final images of this particular resolution between Porter and Norah play out, we hear The Beaver talk in voice over about… Walter Black.

That’s a bit strange, don’t you think?

It’s not only the final images of Porter and Norah that I’m referring to but also the sequence leading up to those final images, which were also filled with massive voice over by Porter in what would have been a certain speech he would have made. If you felt good about the ending, you felt good because of Porter’s story, not Walter’s.

It’s telling to me that the writer should lean so heavily on the subplot to end a story on a high note as opposed to the main plot.

Why is this?

I would suggest that this is the heart of the problem with The Beaver, that is, Walter Black and his puppet show is too thin of a concept for a feature film. He is at best a secondary character whose existence can only help to exacerbate the feelings of what should be the main character, in this case, Porter Black. This is really Porter’s story, as evidenced by the ending. There isn’t enough substance to Walter’s story to have a satisfactory resolution, and I’ll tell you why:

1) He’s not really a sympathetic character. Some might assume that because the story opens with his depression and suicide attempts that he’s automatically sympathetic, but that’s a con. We do not feel sympathy just because the movie opens with a character who is depressed. We feel sympathy in the act of watching how he addresses this issue, how he interacts with other characters, and how he pursues his goal of inner peace. What does Walter Black do? He creates this psychological crutch of interacting with the world through a puppet (just as Killen uses the Beaver as a crutch to explain everything through voice overs). It’s all too strange to support and too tragic to want to laugh. It’s the kind of situation that, if you are going to laugh, it’ll be at the expense of Walter Black, which you don’t really want to do because you just saw how suicidal he is. There’s a fine line between comedy and tragedy, which Killen has not yet mastered, because this script dips too heavily into the tragic. My emotions as I read the script ranged from uncomfortable to very uncomfortable. I never once laughed. The puppet concept is just a one-joke affair rooted in the reactions of the people who encounter this Beaver-talking phenomenon, and that gets old quick. You need to have more to offer to make this worthwhile. If this was a case where the Beaver gave him the freedom to say whatever the hell he wanted to say to people, things that never get said, a la Liar Liar or Lester Burnham from American Beauty, you might have some opportunities for humor. As it is, this script is a curiously absurd concept taken to its most absurd heights, which audiences would be willing to embrace IF it was funny. But no laughs are to be found here. Any marketing campaign proclaiming this to be “a comedy” would be guilty of false advertising.


2) There was an absence of conflict and tension in Walter’s story. Once he makes his conversion to deal with the world through a puppet, everything goes right for him. Thus, we have no conflict, no drama, and no tension. A wife who at first kicked him out and said the only words left to say, “goodbye,” reluctantly accepts his change. (If you buy that plotline, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.) His son, Henry, immediately (and most conveniently) embraces wood working to spend time with the Beaver. (If you buy that plotline, too, I’ve also got an island to sell you.) Yes, one could argue that people would keep on reading because things shouldn’t be going right and they’ll wonder how this will go wrong. But there weren’t even hints that problems were on the horizon for Walter. Things keep going right for him until he becomes a national star, which is so absurd. Absurdity on this scale should be in a comedy or satire and this is neither. The biggest gaffe for me was the total lack of conflict at Walter’s toy company. We have a once-great organization spiraling downward due to Walter’s ineptitude as CEO, and in the real world, when the boss fails and becomes vulnerable, the vultures start circling, and the ambitious make moves to take him out. They would be even more determined if the crazy boss returned to work to talk to the entire company through a puppet and promised eight months of severance pay to anyone who isn’t satisfied in two weeks with all the organizational changes the puppet wants to make. Yes, that’s eight months of severance pay from a company teetering on bankruptcy. Bridge, anyone?

3) Another problem for me is the way Walter’s story reaches its climax. “And then one day,” says the narrating Beaver, “Walter starts to tire of himself all over again.” He merely falls into his pattern of depression and over-sleeping only because the script called for it, not because something happened in the story to make Walter fall back into that old pattern of behavior. This should have come out through the drama and conflict that was so lacking in Walter’s story. Perhaps he gets fired from the toy company, and he falls back into depression. That would make more sense to me. We were also denied an emotional payoff to his problems with Meredith.


MM’S BIGGEST COMPLAINT

Check out these page numbers from my notes: pg 26, pg 31-32, pg 37-39, pg 51, pg 70-71, pg 75, pg 83-84, and pg 100-106.

What do all of these pages have in common? RIDICULOUS HEAPING BLOCKS OF DIALOGUE. Did you see the big paragraphs I wrote for points 1) and 2) above? See all those words in a single paragraph? That’s what the mountainous blocks of dialogue look like in the script. It’s one thing to speed read the dialogue, but it’s quite another to experience those huge monologues in a film. I’m not sure if anyone else noticed, but Killen manipulated the margins of the dialogue so that it’s as wide as acceptable (3.5 inches, although some writers stick with the preferred 3 inches) and then he squeezed the lines together so that the tops of some letters are touching the bottoms of other letters, such as the bottom of a “y” touching the top of an “h.”

“So what,” you say. Letters in a script should not touch each other, and margins should not be manipulated. If you find that you’re having to manipulate margins to make the dialogue look smaller, the problem is you, not the format. You see, one page of a script should equal one minute of screen-time. Lines that have been squeezed together give a wrong impression about how long a scene will play out. Thus, the huge blocks of dialogue in Killen’s script will take longer to endure on screen than what is presented on the page.

And that puts a whole new light on the huge blocks of (mostly expositional) dialogue when you think about how much it’s going to test the patience of audiences enduring those long speeches.

Consider the Beaver’s monologue on page 84 as he’s talking to Matt Lauer. I’ll bet you that speech, if it’s not edited down, will take up a minute and half or longer than the nearly one whole page it fills up in the script. This is the endlessly… talking… Beaver… puppet.

There’s a reason Miss Piggy never gave big speeches.


A FEW OTHER RANDOM THOUGHTS

- Jared was a wasted character. What’s the point of having a character that’s only going to be in one scene? Why couldn’t that scene have been about Porter and Hector?

- Did anyone buy that this cheerleader is also a brilliant valedictorian while also being a brilliant artist? I guess if you buy into the absurdity of Walter’s ascent into stardom with his puppet then you’re also inclined to buy into all of the other minor absurdities in the script like the bankrupt company offering eight months of severance or the cheerleader who is also the brilliant intellectual and genius artist.

- All of the WE SEE’s and camera angles were nauseating. Particularly irrelevant were the CUT TO’s. You should never write a CUT TO. Readers always assume it’s a cut unless they’re told otherwise.


AND FINALLY

I dare say, there is not an actor alive who can make the role of Walter Black work in its current form. Not Jim Carrey. Not Steve Carell. And most certainly not Mel Gibson whose recent fall from grace makes this whole project feel even more uncomfortable, as if Mel had to do this because he himself may be depressed and feels that he must humiliate himself with a beaver puppet to pay for his sins.

It’s not just his shaky public image that makes this project such a risk. The financing has yet to be finalized, which will be around $20 million dollars. There’s no studio backing, which means they may have to go the indie route. If you’ve read the trades, this was the worst year ever at film festivals in terms of getting sales and picking up distribution, because nobody will touch an indie film that’s hard to market. In this economy, if you can’t sell something as a straight horror or comedy or something that already has a built-in audience from a pre-existing source material, buyers will be reluctant. And The Beaver falls into that hard-to-market category because it’s not a comedy.

“Yeah, but it’s got Mel Gibson,” you say. Mel has had two other films that failed to pick-up distribution:
The Million Dollar Hotel (even with a soundtrack by U2) and The Singing Detective. Those films were long before his now tarred and shaky public image.

Ya know, Peter Sellers might have made this concept work but not as it’s written in the script. A genius like Sellers would have to take this concept home, make it all his own, and bring his genius to every scene to make us laugh and care about the suicidal puppet man. He’s the only actor dead or alive who had a chance of pulling this off.

But even his film would’ve lost money.

-MM

34 comments:

returnon said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one less than eager about this Beaver.

Not only is the script a boring read, but this "high concept" was done more eloquently on South Park, where Mr. Garrison subsumes his latent homosexuality through a hand puppet called Mr Hat. That made contextual sense, as Mr Hat was ostensibly a teaching aid for Mr Garrison's 4th grade class. They also had the good sense to make Mr Garrison a supporting character.

But with the present state of film, plagiarism is less depressing than another half-assed remake...

Kevin said...

While I agree with you on most things in regards writing and this script, you should never deal in absolutes.

This is an indie script for an indie movie. It's not going to read like your action spec, all vertical. The long blocks of dialogue are fine in certain types of films. I still remember the superb soliloquy in GOOD WILL HUNTING which ran over a page. That script one an Academy Award too.

The WE SEEs and CUT TOs are also fine in my mind. I don't use them, but they don't bother me at all. Screenwriting is all about visual storytelling told with efficiency and clarity.

I have only read half the script so far and intend to read it all, but it strikes me as a typical indie on the page which should result in typical indie on the screen.

I don't understand all the glowing hyperbole surrounding it, but I also don't have much reason to disagree that strongly either.

Mickey Lee said...

MM

Good review as always, and as I recall from your previous script "previews", you've yet to be wrong as regards the finish product. Let's hope the producers put this in for a page 1 rewrite!

Emily Blake said...

Yeah everybody talked so much about how great this script was so I tried. I really tried.

I got about 8 pages before I fell asleep.

Tina said...

Hmmm, that was interesting. Looks like somethings will always remain mystery.

I myself have been trying to solve the mystery of this legend for a while now. Could not understand much though.

Let me know in case you get to understand the mystery of the Old Hound and the Legend

By the way, good writing style. I'd love to read more on similar topics

Karel said...

Great review. I love the thoroughness of your reviews, yet without going into academic boredom.

I only wish I had the time to read the scripts themselves.

Well, maybe not this one.

Lisa said...

Hey MM!

I haven't read this one. But the concept reminded me of "Lars and the Real Girl."

I loved that movie. It was funny and sad. But Lars was a sympathetic (and adorable, might I add) character. I rooted for him to move on and find real love.

Maybe this script could be more like that if re-written to be less "uncomfortable."

Great review!

Christian H. said...

I personally can't believe that that's the Black List script making the most noise. I totally agree that Walter's story kind of sucks.

SPOILER ALERT

I also would have made this a comedy. But the kid banging his head on the wall... lost me. The puppet becoming grafted, wow. The girl did seem like a contradiction. I'd remove the cheerleader reference.

I'm actually surprised I got through it, but I think it was because I had to see how they were going to end it.

It was too dark and the "hand puppet" craze? WTF!!!

I know they will rewrite this to be a little sunnier like Hancock vs. Tonight He Comes. But who knows.

I DID get SICK of the beaver's long-winded speeches and that VO definitely wasn't Casino-level.

It does I admit make me wonder what agents are looking for as it doesn't seem like a Mel Gibson vehicle or as you said Jim Carrey or Steve Carell either.

I guess it only matters as a screenwriter cause it's not the kind of movie I pay money for.

Anyway, I'm glad someone else agreed that this movie WILL NOT WORK as is.

E.C. Henry said...

The mere IDEA of MAD MAX talking to a beaver puppet makes me want to see this movie. AND I THINK Mel can pull it off. Remember, he did play Riggs in "Leathal Weapon." A mentally off guy. Remember the opening scene at the tree farm? (Mental bridge attemped here)

I think the fact this script needs something MAY actually be a point of attraction for Mel and Jodie. IF they can pull it off, they can always say THEIR contibutions made the difference.

Didn't read this script, but I love the coversation it's spawned. Great review Mystery Man. I liked what you and everyone else had to say.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Anonymous said...

The thing I found myself not willing to suspend disbelief for was the hand puppet & wood carving craze taking off with kids to like the first wave of that Pokemon/YuGiOh craze. Not in the age of the Wii & DS, or when the best hands on building stuff for kids still seems to be Legos. A mass of parents giving their 5 yr olds tool kits that aren't those fakey Little Tikes ones? There's a reason Shop class is middle school. But, hey, maybe it's because I didn't grow up on a farm, or in the woods, or in a very outdoorsy family, or liked splinters, or even took shop class.

Caitlin said...

I understand why this script is so memorable and appealing, but the story just does not work at all, and this review perfectly articulates how the story fails to come together. I agree 100%.

Bryan D said...

Thanks as always for your insights.

Besides LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, I was reminded of a couple of Rod Serling scripts from the old TWILIGHT ZONE - "Caesar and Me" and "The Ventriloquist", both of which dealt with the premise of a struggle between puppet and puppeteer.

That premise worked for a half-hour TV script. But for a feature-length film? Which is probably one reason why, as has been noted, the B story takes over.

Überpossum said...

Great review.

I read the script and it was awful. If the character motivations aren’t believable then all of the “good writing” in the world won’t save the story.

Matt said...

What do Mel Gibson's personal issues and the viability of The Beaver in the marketplace have to do with the quality of the script?

I haven't read the script. I don't plan to read the script. But this is a poorly written review.

Michael Brownlee said...

Well said, MM.

It's Porters story that I was most attached to. By the end I was rooting for him and skimmed anything dealing with Walter.

Not that I didn't like the concept.

Who wouldn't want to talk through a puppet for a day or two and tell people how they really feel? Might be quite therapeutic. If they didn't lock you away because of it.

bob said...

I don't know Matt, viability of a story to get financing and find an audience actually seems to be an over-riding concern of professional readers. I think it's a legitimate point to wonder if someone's going to shell out 20 million to fund a story with a lead that isn't a sure thing.

If you dismiss the entire review for this one comment then you're missing alot of good screenwriting wisdom that can help you on your stories as well.

Kaley said...

I thought The Beaver was a very ambitious script, but it didn't work because the writer didn't know how to resolve these types of serious psychological issues.

Walter was obviously a very disturbed man. The writer didn't want to make light of that or just make him magically better, either through his bizarre reliance on a hand puppet or by having him just become strong enough to get rid of the puppet and start talking for himself.

Yet I got the distinct impression that the writer didn't know how someone that seriously depressed and, well, crazy would actually get better. So he had Walter self-destruct and then stuck him away and turned to Porter.

Porter's fears were entirely realistic and believable (which is probably why everyone identifies with him so much), but I don't think the writer knew how a kid effectively handles having a disturbed parent, so the writer just had Porter "get better" via his relationship with a peer (which was really more of a tangent than anything else).

The script has potential but it needs major work by someone who understands these types of psychological problems well enough to write about them realistically.

It was a great attempt, though!

Laura Deerfield said...

Jodie rarely directs, and she's made interesting choices in the past... both films were very good, without quite becoming great. She's good with actors, bringing out interesting performances. Home for the Holidays was funny and uncomfortable at the same time - I see that translating well here. And I see what must appeal to her about this script. I'm trusting *her* talent to turn this into something worth watching.

Mel, well - been a looooong time since he turned in a performance I thought was great, but maybe desperation will work to his advantage here.

Drew said...

I agree with you, but I think there is potential, especially if The Beaver becomes the id to Walter's Super Ego, thus some tension.
I did laugh in parts, but also found Porter to be the most sympathetic character. The wall-butting just seemed wrong. I like the idea of the cheerleader/valedictorian, but she is just an idea. If she is fleshed out and given some meat, I think that could work as well.
And you are spot on about the massive chunks of dialogue and voice-over...
Good idea that just might make it if it is re-imagined as a comedy with a heart. in that sense, I have great trust in the director of Home for the Holidays.

Mystery Man said...

Returnon – Oh, yes, Mr. Hat! I forgot all about him. And ya know, I like him… as a supporting character.

Kevin – I’m okay with blocks of dialogue, and I once had a post about great monologues. If you haven’t finished reading the script, you can’t really argue with me about the dialogue. The thing is, those huge blocks of dialogue have to be compelling and limited to the important few. I’m also not a believer in absolutes with the exception of format and grammar. We should be writing spotless specs.

Mickey – You’re very kind. Hope you’re well.

Emily – It was all that talk about sleeping, wasn’t it? It made me sleepy, too!

Tina – Go away.

Karel – You should read this one! You learn more from specs that don’t work than the ones that do.

Lisa – Hey, Lisa! I thought quite a bit about “Lars.” There was a careful balancing act, a careful approach to his character so the audience wouldn’t be uncomfortable. Walter Black makes us feel very uncomfortable.

Christian – Most felt this way. The Blacklist is the most liked of the scripts that were “passed.”

E.C. – Ahhh, the optimist! I love it! If I’m wrong, I’ll totally give you credit.

Anon – Great points. I totally agree.

Caitlin – You’re very kind. Love your shirt.

Bryan – I’ve seen all the Twilight Zone episodes (watched them obsessively as a kid) but the episode you mention escapes me. I agree that this would’ve been ripe for a half-hour situational comedy.

Uberpossum – I do agree with Billy Mernit in that Killen had energy going for him and he’s definitely a smart writer, capable of intelligent dialogue and characters with distinctive voices. He just needs to keep at it.

Matt – My point was who you put into that role will affect you how feel about the character. I couldn’t stand Caden on the page in “Synecdoche, NY” but Philip Seymour Hoffman made him a bit more tolerable. Other actors would not have been able to pull that off as well as Hoffman did. Same goes for Walter Black. The idea of Mel Gibson in the role of Walter Black make what he does in the story that much more uncomfortable for me.

Michael – Exactly. That would’ve been more entertaining, too. I lost interest in Walter and Porter grew on me.

Bob – Yeah, it’s a big consideration if YOU are the one shelling out the 20 mill.

Kaley – I loved this: “Porter's fears were entirely realistic and believable (which is probably why everyone identifies with him so much), but I don't think the writer knew how a kid effectively handles having a disturbed parent, so the writer just had Porter "get better" via his relationship with a peer (which was really more of a tangent than anything else).”

Laura – Ahh, another optimist! This is why I adore you.

Drew – Yeah, the wall-butting bit didn’t quite work for me. That is just TOO wrong to be fixed with a little talk with his father while he’s in a clinic. I love Jody Foster. There’s no denying her talent and intelligence.

-MM

LOD said...

Hi MM !

I've just discovered your blog and read the whole script yesterday.

So I like the script as I couldn't take my eyes off of it and I also agree with your review.

Knowing Jodie Foster would play Meredith, I thought the script would need a lot of rewrite because her story is the one without a real closing. Nostalgia is her pb and we don't see her acting against it.

Potter's plot was the best one although it kindda suffer the "Dawson's creek" syndrome. He sounds way too mature for a teenager.

Walter's plot was ok in the beginning but the developpement was boring and he's disconnected from the family in the third act. Why ?

Monologue were too long and could be cut short in a more effective way.

Love your review because it articulates what was bothering me in the script although I loved reading it.

Thomas Rufer said...

The only really interesting character was the cheerleader and even she was flat.

I agree on that Porter and Norah were actually the main story in this piece of writing. That's sad.

I wouldn't make a comedy out of this but a really dark psychological horror movie with the only physical and brutal scene being the one where he chops off the beaver.

That way you can go into absurdities.

And if it would be a horror movie, get rid of the voice overs.

In the end when Porter and Norah drive off we are reminded of Walter and Merediths happy years in the beginning of their love lifes... zoom into the rubber band of Porter still wearing.

Mr Dan said...

Nice review MM.

I thought you were being a bit of an arse when you said someone couldn't argue with you about the dialogue since they hadn't finished the script. That was when I was about 1/3 through the script. After that, man oh man, the dialogue gets a lot longer. I've got to agree you have to read the whole script to understand this.

In fact, the whole script went downhill after the first third in my opinion.

I think one thing worth mentioning, on top of the fact Walter isn't sympathetic as a character...is the fact that Walter barely is a character at all.

Once The Beaver comes along, Walter takes a back seat. Walter is no longer a character, The Beaver is, and since The Beaver's character is so different from Walter's we don't make any connection between the two.

This is obviously a problem when the film is meant to be about Walter struggling with his depression. It adds further problems to the script.

You mention that there's no friction and all this good stuff happens to Walter with The Beaver, I agree with this. A giant problem with this, was that the good stuff happened, but we were never shown how this affected Walter.

There's this long stretch in the script where Walter does nothing and says nothing. It's all The Beaver. Walter creates a giant craze and there's not even a line "Walter smiles and looks satisfied."

So I think we're just meant to assume that Walter is happy now because of The Beaver because good things have been happening. Eventually of course Walter gets depressed etc, but we only see this after all the good things have happened, there's no emotional connections.

Also I felt, by the end, Walter is meant to have learnt something. What was it though? I failed to see the turning point where he realised what would make him happy. He was just back to where he was at the start, he hadn't learnt anything, he just had one less hand.

I think there's a good idea in this script though, that could be worked to make a better film. The way I would have wrote the story would to have either:

1/ Had The Beaver taking over his life completely and having him getting jealous of it. People liking the Beaver more than him and The Beaver starts to take over his whole life, bossing him around etc.

He goes to have sex with his wife and she's apathetic, then she turns and asks excitedly "how about you let the beaver do it?" Then suddenly she's really getting off on the beaver. Stuff like that.

I think the script tried to do this somewhat but never pushed it far enough (again, because we never know how he feels about what's happening.)

2/ The Beaver comes into his life, his life suddenly gets amazing. Everything is perfect. The Beaver helps him (it's more a buddy movie), then suddenly, one day The Beaver gets destroyed somehow (it dies in his hands and he screams "NOOOOO!"). Perhaps just before a big important meeting. He doesn't have The Beaver there to help him, but he uses the skills he's learnt during the rest of the movie (from The Beaver) to get through it, and he realises he doesn't need The Beaver.

I think there definitely needed to be some realisation that The Beaver was actually him, he could do all the things The Beaver could, because he is The Beaver. etc.

Anyway, I'm typing a lot...

Dan

P.S You were mistaken about something. The voiceover at the end is Walter, not The Beaver.

martinb said...

I enjoyed the script, but I'd be nervous about making the movie.

If Gibson is starring, would the Beaver speak with a strong Australian accent? Or would some other actor entirely voice the Beaver, like John Cleese of Fawlty Towers fame (on whom I am sure The Beaver is based)?

THE BEAVER is not reality, it's not a comedy, it's a fairy story like STEWART LITTLE, or a morality tale, and the tone of the film needs to reflect that slight unreality. I see it as a darkish world with hand puppets and "normal" people brighter.

If we can buy into the fairy story idea, we can also accept Henry's sudden interest in woodwork, the Beaver's merging with Walter, and various other somewhat unreal happenings.

The main problem for me was Norah. Cheerleader/valedictorian/rebel artist/can't make a speech/loves Porter? That's a bit too much for one person, even in a fairy story.

Mystery Man said...

Dan - re: "Walter is meant to have learnt something." I agree! It would've been nice had he at least acknowledged how he came to understand what was wrong about what he was doing. Great comments.

Martinb - I think I'd prefer the Australian accent, actually.

-MM

Les said...

MM I don't disagree with your points, but I find it strange you don't mention how out and out HILARIOUS some of the scenes are -- Walter trying to hide the puppet, the puppet addressing other people etc. Also, I don't know how you felt about American Beauty but you could make a lot of the same points about that movie.

Anonymous said...

I found this an enjoyable read but have no idea how this could top the black list. It pulled me in to the problems faced by the characters, had some interesting twists, and dealt with some interesting themes. However, it had some truly huge speeches, some followed directly by pages of voice over. It attempted to resolve the thematic questions through this voice-over which I would find even less tolerable on screen. It lacked even the let your freak flag fly of other indie dramadies. I didn't laugh out loud once. I got less involved as soon as Matt Lauer showed up. Someone please tell me what I missed that can make up for the flaws.

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